(219) Pomatorhinus erythrogenys erythrogenys.
VIGORS'S RUSTY-CHEEKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER.
Pomatorhinus erythrogonys Vigors, P. Z. S., 1831, p. 173 (W. Nepal). Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 124.
Vernacular names. Ban-bukra (Mussoorie).
Description. Upper plumage, closed wings and tail olive-brown ; lores white, streaked with grey ; some white feathers on the eyelids; a moustachial stripe, red near the bill and then black; forehead, ear-coverts, sides of the neck, thighs and under tail-coverts chestnut; sides of breast and body chestnut washed with olivaceous ; chin, throat, centre of breast and abdomen white. There are only the faintest indications of grey striae on the breast.
Colours of soft parts. Iris light greenish white, yellowish white or pale bright yellow; legs and feet fleshy or fleshy-brown; bill yellowish-horny.
Measurements. Length about 280 to 290 mm.; wing 95 to 105mm,; tail about 100 mm,; tarsus about 40 mm.; culmen about 33 to 35 mm.
Distribution. N.W. Himalayas to Simla.
Nidification. These birds breed in May and June, making the same kind of large oval nest as the other birds of this genus. They ascend at least as high as 8,000 feet and possibly to 10,000 but are most often found in summer between 3,000 and 5,000. They build on grass-covered hills and in open scrub-jungle more frequently than the other species do and nests may often be found some little distance from heavy cover. Hodgson says they lay three or four eggs but two will be found hard-set far more often than four. Thirty eggs average about 27.9 x 20.3 mm. They are rather broad ovals in shape.
Habits. The Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babblers haunt both underwood in dense forest, grass-covered sides of hills and deserted patches of cultivation where the vegetation is still sparse. They feed like the rest of the genus on grubs, beetles, earthworms and insects of all kinds, and their voice is the typical triple "hoot." They consort in small parties of three or four to a dozen individuals, are secretive in their habits, though not really shy, and they indulge in the same conversational outbursts and quaint dances that their relations delight in.